Monarch butterfly populations are rapidly declining due to drought conditions, increased insecticide and herbicide use, overwhelming habitat loss, and the steep decrease in milkweed plants.
Monarch butterflies are beautiful and important participants in pollinating plants in our ecosystem. However, their population has declined 90 percent over the last twenty years. Female monarchs rely on milkweed to lay their eggs and feed their caterpillar larvae. While other flower species can serve as nectar sources for mature butterflies, only milkweed varieties can feed the monarch caterpillars, enabling the monarch population to grow.
To combat the monarchs’ decline, Mayor Slay announced a new City sustainability initiative called ‘Milkweeds for Monarchs.’ The project’s goal is to increase the monarch butterfly population and to better connect people and urban nature. Mayor Slay has committed the City to planting 50 monarch gardens. He challenges the community to plant an additional 200 monarch gardens in 2014.
Working together with community plant and butterfly experts, the City has created a list of recommended plants to help you in establishing your monarch garden. To view names and pictures of recommended plant varieties, go to https://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/mayor/news/milkweeds-for-monarchs-initiative.cfm. These plants have been carefully selected to provide the best benefits for the butterflies and your personal enjoyment. These varieties flower at different times of the growing season, offering seasonal color and essential butterfly food and nectar sources.
If you would like to develop a monarch-friendly design for your yard, contact Karen to set up a design consultation. Whether you want the design professionally implemented or you enjoy the DIY experience, Karen provides outstanding and sustainable designs, tips and resources. Contact Karen directly via phone at 314-954-6140 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For updated information on the STL Milkweeds for Monarchs initiative and to receive recognition for creating a monarch garden, please visit stlouis-mo.gov/sustainability.